Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Poor Puppy

Why do we torture you so?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to measure your Blogging Success

What do I mean by successful?

There are several measures of bloggy success. Pretty much there are the two categories that we use to "rank" people in real life.

Rich and Famous

Just like in real life, you can be any combination. Rich or Famous or both or neither. Same is true for blogging.

If you blog for a small, select group of friends and family to keep them abreast of your life, you probably aren't in it for the glory. You are a successful blogger if your mom doesn't call you for new photos of the grand kids and no one reports you missing.

For the rest of us, fame and fortune are the benchmarks. Let's take them one at a time.

So you wanna be Rich?

There are many, many ways to attempt to monetize your blog. Most of results are top-secret. People generally don't disclose how much income they make, and if they do I tend not to believe them. Therefore, I am going to say that there are no real statistics, rankings, or other measures that I am aware of that compare your level with that of other bloggers.

I have not worked hard on this and I am sure there are great lists, links, and so forth on great blogs such as problogger. Or simply do a google search on such terms as "affiliate marketing" or "monetize your blog". There is certainly a wealth of information out there.

That being said, many of these things make me a little nervous. I am sure that there are great networks out there. But the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I hear words like "free money." I will say the two of the easiest methods for a beginner are Google Adsense and Amazon Associates programs. I have also heard good things about Blogher. Many people swear that selling private ads is where it's at. But a word of caution. Do not monetize too early. With very little traffic comes very little or no money. Which leads us to....


For this there are definitely ways to see how you measure up. You can sign your blog up with Technorati and see how you rank. I also like to check my blog juice, a calculation that takes your Alexa ranking, technorati data, bloglines and performs some hocus pocus and gives you a number between 1-10.0. The higher the number, the more popular and far reaching. You can also use a statistical program such as Statcounter or Google Analytics to see where your visitors are coming from (both literally and figuratively). Many have free minimized versions or trials and they are worth reviewing.

One word of caution, just try not to become obsessed with checking your stats. It can eat up as much time as social media (which is another post altogether). Both things used right are advantageous. Used wrong they become a major time suck and a stomp on your ego. The most useful thing you should be doing with these stats, is to use them to determine how to enhance your site. What are people searching on that brings them to you? Do they stay and look around?

This should help you enhance your content with better keywords, better post titles, better content. Better stuff leads to more readers leads to more money. Rinse and repeat. Anyway, that is the theory.

Tell me how you monitor blog success.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Is this women Crazy?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How to Watch your money - Two angles

In our house, the money jobs are pretty well defined and divided. My husband would say he invests the money and I spend it. In many ways that is true. He does the higher level investing, I take care of the day to day. Neither of us is completely out of the decisions the other is making and no large decisions are made alone. However, if I am at Target and I want to buy an inflatable swimming pool for the kids, let's just say that I don't call in. On the other hand, I trust his decisions on investing and don't want a lesson on dividends, interest rates, and market trends every time. Perhaps I should be more interested. Okay, I know I should be more interested, or at least in the know.

With that in mind and my new iv connection to the Internet, I thought that I should see what tools might be out there.

For pure investment strategies, I have been "playing around" with my husband's financial website. I wanted to share it today. Especially as the markets go up and down, it is nice to see the "what ifs". Months after you make a decision, you can look to see how close to a good time you hit it. The Working Money (as in make your money work for you) is a free site to keep an idea of how you are doing over time.

He is still working on enhancing this site, but some of the features he has included:

  • Keeps track of dividends
  • Keeps track of cash
  • Allows two different ways of tracking stocks: simulating a real portfolio or keep a watch list of stocks.

You can always go look around, but to do more, you need to sign up for an account. Also, the website currently updates financial information on a daily basis, but if there is enough interest he will eventually make that part live. He has added some accounts that follow certain investing strategies or experts, The Little Book that Beats the Market for example . If you are into this stuff, you will see the accounts he made up and know who they are modeled after.

If you are interested, visit his site. If nothing else, it will give him a little buzz to see his stats go up. Don't tell him I sent you.

The second angle incorporates a budgeting and planning aspect. I have been entering receipts into excel for about a year. While that has stabilized my spending and purchase, it isn't doing enough anymore. I want to go beyond that. I am considering looking into more traditional programs such as Quicken and Microsoft Money. Thrive is a new website that I saw someone twitter, so I decided to check it out. I am not convinced I want to share all my financial information, but I have been looking for a tool to take my financial savvy to a higher level and this might be worth a try.

How about you? What tools do you use to see where your money is going?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - The Artist At Work

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

5 Minutes for Isabella

There is a great, popular site run by twin Canadian Moms. I have participated in their blog parties. I have eyed their contests and giveaways with desire (hard to do it from Costa Rica) and awe at their web presence. I speak of 5 minutes for mom of course. Something that every Mom dreams of. 5 Minutes.

Any hoo.... they recently launched several offshoots. They call them the Sisters. There are 5minutes for special needs, going green, parenting and BOOKS.

I asked them if they might be interested in reviewing my book. After sending them a copy, no strings attached, of course, I was so happy to see the review they wrote. Lauren has gotten to the essence of the idea.

"...Isabella spends the day pretending to be great women from the past. The author does an excellent job of integrating the roles of these women into Isabella's every day life, and the illustrations are delightfully engaging."

Read more on how she connected with "My Name is Not Isabella.".

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Name is Not Isabella named SEMIFINALIST

It seems that "My Name is Not Isabella" has been named as a semifinalist in the Moonbeam Children's book awards for 2009 in the picture book ages 4-8 category. See entry number 9. I understand there were over 100 entrants into this category. Also, some of the other books are published by publishing houses such as Carolrhoda, a division of Lerner, Warner Press Kids, Sylvan Dell Publishing amd Raven Tree Press. These are experienced publishing businesses. I am floored. And happy. Stay tuned for final results.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

sHift Happens

I have ben working so hard to understand web 2.0, social media, internet "stuff." I forget how much all this "stuff" will impact my kids.

Amazon category puts me in good company

Today's Amazon Listing of "My Name is Not Isabella"

See that big circle up there? That puts "My Name is Not Isabella" as the 77th most popular book in the category of Children's books categorized as "People and Places" categorized as "Girls and Women." Sounds like a pretty specific category. 77th does not sound that impressive. So why am I so excited and telling you all this?

First, it is the first time "My Name is Not Isabella" has been categorized by Amazon. Second, it is categorized in a relevant category. And, please remember how many books Amazon sells and you can see why this has given me a little buzz for today. This ranking is updated hourly and I know we ill probably start to fall quickly. But for right now, the book is on a list with Nancy Drew, Pippi Longstocking, Fancy Nancy and Junie B. Not bad company if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Queen Me

Monday, October 6, 2008

We took a little mini-vacation

Wish You Were Here Too....

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